night club recording, sounds like crap- HELP

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    • #41789

      im just getting into filming and i have been doing alot of filming of live preformances in night clubs. it is so loud when the music is playing there is alot of distortion on the recording. i can barley understand what is being said by the artist. is there any way i can muffle the sound or hook up directly to the dj to make it sound better. any advice would be appretiated. thank you.

    • #176724


      You have to work in tandem with an audio feed from the house mixing board and a direct feed into your camera/portable recording devices. That meaning on a 1 camera shoot, you have to decide if your doing a static shoot (camera stays in one place) to link one channel of audio from the mixing board to your cam and another to one of the house speakers. If you’re going to be moving around, then you’ll need a portable recording device or a small camera you can connect a mic to and mic one of the house speakers.

      Keep in mind without a small field mixer of your own, you’ll be at the mercy of whoever is mixing the sound and they won’t have ‘clean audio for video’ in mind. Also, any audio you get from a portable recorder you mic the house speakers with will also be ‘hot’ if you don’t have any way to set the audio levels in the unit. Really hot audio is a nightmare to try and fix in post and most times you can’t. Zoom and others make affordable portable recorders with built-in levels controls. You might want to take a look at those.

    • #176725

      Composite1’s answer is the best way to go, but if you can’t do that for some reason, try recording audio separately with a digital audio recorder placed in the back of the building, away from the direct sound source and away from talking people.

    • #176726
      Grinner Hester

      you can also always turn down the gain when recording.

    • #176727

      I do this type of work often, shooting video for country music artists and bands. It is imperative to get an audio feed from the console and there are several ways to do that as expressed in the above posts.

      One can take a feed from the F.O.H. and that will work OK, but keep in mind that the audio that is fed to the house is a mirror image of that occurring on-stage.

      By that I mean that the loudest item on-stage will need less feed to the house so the mixing engineer will only have a little (or no) volume on that items channel in the mix.

      Conversely the quietest item on-stage will be be given a lot of volume in the house mix, so the resulting mix sent to the house is a combination of audio directly from the stage and that mixed at the console. The smaller the venue the more this is obvious, the larger the venue the less of a problem this mirroring effect will create.

      There are several solutions: One is to use a separate console for audio for video (costs a lot to do this) or a separate mix from a mixing console already being used. (this is easily done from the monitor mix console if one is being used, but may not include some effects done at F.O.H.) Many newer mixing consoles have a matrix mixer built in that can make audio feed pretty simple too.

      However with smaller venues or lower end bands those things may not be available to you. Another solution is to use two audio sources and mix them in post. one a feed from the F.O.H. console the same as goes to the house speakers (yep it’ll be a mirror image) Then place a condenser microphone in the audience area near a place that is A: Out of the way.. B Has clear line of sight to a house speaker system.

      This works well since you will also have some audience sounds that will enhance the overall Live Performance Video, like the applause of the audience.

      Most pro cameras have at least 2 inputs with controls for both inputs. Some prosumer camcorders do too, but most consumer camcorders do not, but fear not for many small portable audio mixers exist and do not cost all that much money. You should also have a couple of adapters to get from XLR to whatever your cameras audio inputs are, and a couple of AUDIO PADS ( a -10db and a -20db will do since you can use them together to create a -30db pad) this solves the issue of too much volume level from the audio feed.

      I generally use two cameras for such work, one positioned at or near the F.O.H. position, and one hand held for close-up work.

      You can see examples at:

      Hope that helps.

    • #176728

      I’ve shot several night club gigs, including Gatemouth Brown. Capturing audio aboard the camera is always a nightmare. Assuming you were cleared to film the performance, you should have access to the sound engineer. My advice is to make nice with the sound person. Offering a couple of beers helps. See if s/he can record the audio directly from the soundboard to a media other than the camera. Then align audio and video in post production.

      If need be, buy a decent digital audio recorder that will accept feed from a soundboard. there are a few that will do a decent enough job. (Research the Internet.) I know the expense of purchasing more equipment is painful, especially for someone just starting out, but capturing loud audio with a camera mic plain doesn’t work, as you have experienced.

      Feeding directly from the nightclub soundboard to your camera not only limits camera movement, it won’t necessarily cure your ails. Keep in mind that the concert audio is mixed for the room – not the camera. But the audio on the cd you obtain from the sound tech (one last obligatory beer) can be manipulated in post.

      Good luck.

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